As a homeowner, you should be wary of strangers who enter your home, even if you have invited them in for a specific purpose. Unfortunately, even trusted employees of the most reputable companies could have corrupt interests in identifying and helping themselves to your wealth.
Given the opportunity, these people could easily pocket something on the spot, or tell accomplices about your home layout, your valuables, your security system and/or your passwords. So the next time you need to accept a delivery or have your premises inspected, keep the visit as brief as possible, and never allow strangers to wander through your home.
Although we hope for the best in people, the following are some tips that can keep you and your family safe!
- Equip your home with an alarm system. Ideally, it should be linked to a central alarm switchboard and connected to a power source that will keep it operational during a power failure. Place notice stickers on your doors and windows that indicate your house is protected by an alarm system.
- Always lock your doors and windows when you leave the house. Never leave the garage door open when you’re away from home.
- Install a peephole in the door rather than a chain lock.
- Change all the locks when you move into a new house. You should repeat the exercise if you lose your keys.
- Don’t hide a door key outside the house. Instead, give a spare key to a neighbour or friend you can trust. Never write your name, home address or phone number on the key or key chain.
- Don’t leave desirable objects—such as bicycles or a snow blower—in plain view of passersby. Inside the house, don’t leave valuable items near windows, where they might be visible from outside.
- Prune trees and bushes so that burglars can’t hide behind them.
- Make sure the window air conditioner is firmly in place, and secure all basement windows with bars that can be easily removed from the inside.
The following tips are for protecting your home while you are away:
- Don’t mention your absence on the Internet, especially if you’re on an extended trip. And don’t give any indication of your absence on your answering machine or voice mail.
- Ask a friend or neighbour to pick up your newspaper every day, or suspend your subscription temporarily so the pile of newspapers doesn’t betray your absence.
- To give the impression that someone is home, install a programmable timer to turn indoor and outdoor lights on and off.
- To prevent your voice mail box from filling up, access it from a distance or have your calls transferred to someone trustworthy.